Word Classes

  • Created by: livvvd26
  • Created on: 26-03-19 20:37

Word Classes - Open Classes - Nouns


  • Refer to objects, people/animals or places (e.g. tent, tiger, circus)
  • Refer to events –in the broadest sense of the words- (e.g. ‘party’ ‘season’ )
  • Refer to more abstract entities (e.g. ‘cure’ ‘relativity’ ‘energy’ ‘peace’ 
  • Nouns can be subjects and objects of sentences. 
  • Can take possessive ‘s: (Peter’s biscuits, This biscuit’s ingredients).
  • Can take plural form: (I know two Peters, take two biscuits).
  • Can be preceded by a determiner (‘The Peter I told you about earlier’, ‘Those biscuits are lovely’).
  • Can be ‘qualified’ by an adjective. 

Mass or Count Nouns:

  • Count - countable, they can be made plural by adding an 's' or theyre irregular
  • Mass - cant be counted and can only be counted when a 'quantifier' is added in front
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Word Classes - Open Classes - Nouns 2

Proper Nouns: ‘individual’ names for people, places, products, organisations, months, holidays

  •  ‘London’
  •  ‘John’
  •  ‘Twix’
  •  ‘Oxfam’
  • October
  • Easter 

Common Nouns: nouns that name some sort of category

  •  ‘city’
  •  ‘boy’
  • ‘biscuit’
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Word Classes - Open Classes - Main Verbs

Lexical verbs:

A verb with a clear meaning & content (‘stand’ ‘look’ ‘cycle’). Any verb that is not one of the other two categories (although some verbs have two entries). Main verbs can indicate actions, states and processes.

Copular or linking verbs:

A set of verbs with seemingly little meaning of its own. The most frequent one is ‘is’. These verbs connect two (pro)nouns or an adjective to the subject (noun or pronoun) that refer to essentially the same entity, and could all be replaced by ‘is’. (‘I am Christina’ ‘He seems/looks/appears happy’ ‘He remains silent’, ‘It tastes delicious’)

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Word Classes - Open Classes - Verbs

Auxiliary Verbs:

Verbs that help another verb along. (e.g. ‘I have eaten’ ‘He is swimming’ ‘He can climb’).

- The main verb provides the main semantic content of the sentence.

- The auxiliary verb adds subtle grammatical information e.g. aspect or modality

e.g. I have gone: perfect aspect of present tense
I had gone: perfect aspect of past tense
e.g. I might go: epistemic modality

Examples: The primary auxiliaries are be, do and have

The  modal auxiliaries are : 

can, could, may, might, must, ought to, shall, should, will, would

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Word Classes - Open Classes - All Verbs

All Verbs:

Can follow pronouns:

◦ I am   can  

◦ You are   can

◦ He/she/it is  can 

◦ We are   can 

◦ You are  can

◦ They are   can

 Can be put in past tense (was)

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Word Classes - Open Classes - Verbs Participles

Present participles

- end in –ing

  • walking
  • eating

Past participles

- past form of verb, -ed or irregular past form

  • walked
  • eaten
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Word Classes - Open Classes - Adjectives and Adver

Adjectives: describe quality of a noun

‘A nice man’ before a noun = Attributive

‘The man is nice.’ after a copular verb = Predicative


  • Garbage bin’ category
  • Generally are used to express manner (how’), place (‘where’), time (‘when’, ‘how often’)
  • All words modifying adjectives are adverbs (e.g. ‘I am so happy’ ‘I feel quite chuffed’ ‘more/most disgusting’)
  • Other examples ‘often’ ‘always’ ‘really’
  • Adverbs also used to modify verbs e.g. she smiled cheerfully
  • A category of adverbs is formed by adding –ly to an adjective ‘happily’ ‘loudly’ 
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Word Classes - Closed Classes - Pronouns


  • Personal pronouns (e.g., I, they)
  • Demonstrative pronouns (e.g., this, these)
  • Interrogative pronouns (e.g., which, who…?)
  • Indefinite pronouns (e.g., none, several)
  • Possessive pronouns (e.g., his, your)
  • Reciprocal pronouns (e.g., each other, one another)
  • Relative pronouns (e.g., which, where)
  • Reflexive pronouns (e.g., itself, himself)
  • Intensive pronouns (e.g., itself, himself) 

Substitute Noun Phrases

  • I like the big ball
  • I like it/that
  • Big John likes the small red ball with spots
  • John likes what? What does John like?
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Word Classes - Closed Classes - Prepositions


Relating two events/objects in location, time, or abstractly:

  • The ball is on the grass
  • The presents lie under the tree
  • The apple is beneath the tree
  • I went to the doctor after three days of fever
  • I like everyone except her
  • He is healthy except for his blood pressure

Often not used in their literal sense:

  • There is a ball in the box
  • I can’t see anything in that 
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Word Classes - Closed Classes - Determiners


Before a Noun, but it is not an Adjective (so does not describe a quality):

  • Identifies which thing/person/event you talk about
  • Articles:an, the, a (apple)
  • Demonstratives: this, that, these, those (apples)
  • Quantifiers: some, any, no, most (apples)
  • Possessives: my, your, one’s, John’s (apple)
  • Numbers - one, two, three, twenty, forty
  • Ordinals - firstsecond1st 2nd, 3rd, lastnext, etc.
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Word Classes - Closed Classes - Conjuctions


Conjunctions (also known as connectives) are used to join linguistic elements together. For now we’ll think only about simple coordinating conjunctions such as “and”, “but” and “or”. These join phrases, clauses and lists of similar items:

I love broccoli and cauliflower

She cried and cried and cried …

I am tough but fair

Would you like tea or coffee?

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